Knicks 2007 Report Card (A to Z): Randolph Morris

KnickerBlogger: Signed by the Knicks in a draft loophole, Randolph Morris became the first person to play in the NCAA tournament and the NBA season in the same week. Morris played for the Knicks in 5 games totaling 44 minutes. That’s 4 less minutes than a single NBA game.

KnickerBlogger’s Grade: Incomplete

2008 Outlook: From what I saw in Las Vegas, Randolph Morris seems to be a solid, but unspectacular player. It’s harder to judge centers in summer league, because as Dave Berri puts it, there’s a short supply of tall players. On offense Morris showed that he was able to face up and hit a short jumper, and can finish around the hoop. His hands are adequate when it comes to receiving passes close to the basket. On defense he averaged a little over a block per game. His rebounding was good, but not great. There’s nothing that Randolph does that screams “I’m great at this!”, and that is what most scouting reports say. Ed Weiland said “I doubt he?ll ever be anything more than just usable as a player” and Berri said “Randolph Morris had a PAWSmin of 0.128 [ranked 9th in PF/C], which looks pretty good.”

Normally you wouldn’t expect a young player like Morris to get a lot of play. In essence he’s a rookie, and the Knicks have a logjam at C/PF with Curry, Randolph, Lee, Rose, and James. But one thing that might drive Isiah Thomas to play Morris more next year is his expiring contract. Since Morris wasn’t drafted by the Knicks, they couldn’t give him one of those 4-5 year rookie option deals. Unless New York extends Morris’ contract this offseason, Isiah will have to make a decision next year on whether or not to keep him. The Knicks would be in another Jackie Butler situation, but this time they won’t have the option to match if another team signs Morris to a contract.

Finding a usable center in the NBA is no easy task, so Isiah should try to give the kid a chance to prove himself this year. Using Randolph for at least 10-15 minutes a night over about 60 games should let the Knicks better evaluate his talents without allowing other teams to bid heavily on him next year. As an added bonus, being forced to play Morris would mean that Malik Rose should see even less minutes this year and Jerome James can dust off his old Globetrotter jersey.

Brian Cronin – Yeah, from what I have seen of Morris, he doesn’t look like anything more than a solid backup, but solid backup centers are USEFUL in the NBA, ESPECIALLY if they can keep you from signing, say, Jerome James to do the role.

So I think the signing of Morris was a steal by Isaiah.

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Mike Kurylo

Mike Kurylo is the founder and editor of His book on the 2012 Knicks, "We’ll Always Have Linsanity," is on sale now. Follow him on twitter (@KnickerBlogger).

22 thoughts to “Knicks 2007 Report Card (A to Z): Randolph Morris”

  1. I agree with Cronin here, being that depth at center is a huge benefit–especially for postseason play. Even take a guy like Alonzo Mourning, who’s less than spectacular at this point. In about 10 minutes a game, he was good for a block, 4 points, 3 rebounds, and about 70% (!) FG%. Obviously, ‘Zo and Morris have completely different games, but the point remains: depth at at the center position is key for postseason success. Plus I like Morris, he’s not flashy, but he doesn’t make mistakes. He’s efficient and will get 7/7 in 15 minutes of play without wasting opportunities. He consistently hits the shots he’s supposed to, and grabs the boards he’s supposed to. That’s more than we can say of some guys on the roster (ahem, Mr. Big Snacks). He’s sort of like a less talented Tim Duncan without a mature game yet, and he’ll only get better. I agree with the incomplete, but I think our roster will be incomplete in 2009 if Morris isn’t on it. Though I love to see David Lee get minutes, they’re not coming at the 5 and Curry and Z’Bo aren’t exactly workhorses.

    Basically, I like keeping a talented kid like Morris on the cheap, and hope Isiah agrees.

  2. Brian,

    The other interesting thing here is that not only are backup quality centers often grossly overpaid as free agents (e.g., Jerome James) they are typically overdrafted as well (e.g., Michael Olowakandi). I?m not at all convinced that Josh Boone, a player many of us thought the Knicks would have done well to draft, has any higher upside than Morris?almost certainly not enough to justify the difference in salary. Even if Morris only develops into a Jake Voskhul-quality journeyman backup who can give 15 or so minutes a night and 6 fouls without being embarrassed vs. the likes of KG or Dwight Howard his only real risk is in producing so well as to inflate his market price next year. That?s a bridge I?m quite willing to cross once we come to it ?


  4. i think we’ve got another kurt thomas in randolph morris.
    once z-bo or eddy gets injured or suspended
    and he get a chance to play for about 15-20 mins he will become another double-double guy for us.

  5. Morris was a below-average rebounder in college, so I don’t see any way he’s gonna be a double-figures guy in the pros.

    He looks like he can become a solid defender though, and a smart player.

  6. he averaged 16pts,2blocks and almost 8 rebounds on a 27 mins per game in his final season in kentucky, he can improve that with zeke in the pros i think..

  7. The nice thing is that if he overperforms and forces Isiah into using part of the MLE to sign him, that’s MLE money that won’t go to next year’s JJ (pick one).

  8. For a big men, Randolph has that rare ability to actually create his own offense on the block. I think this is what separates him. There aren’t many of those guys around. Coupled with solid athleticism and defensive ability, I don’t see why he can’t be a solid starter down the line. He’s an all-around player, he can do a little of everything and that makes him potentially better than most big men. He’s not the most athletic player around so he doesn’t have the ceiling of an elite player but he’s solid and skilled and that’s a dependable and useful combination.

    I look around the league and there aren’t many big men who have touch, who have an offensive pulse and who can also perform the defensive responsibilities required of their position. If Randolph has his head on straight and he’s motivated, I think he can start eventually.

  9. I’m not sure about Morris’ being a starting-quality NBA center. He has a decent set of skills, but he lacks intensity and determination. He often appears passive and uninterested. My take on Morris is that he’s the new Jackie Butler. A serviceable back up with some skills, but nothing outstanding. I’m anticipating that Morris splits minutes with Jerome James unless he’s able to demonstrate more grit.

  10. SIDE NOTE: just read this from an article linked through Not sure if the writer is trying to make Portland feel better about the trade.

    On a side note, get this…. I’m told by insiders that Channing Frye has been nothing short of amazing in workouts this summer, and that Aldridge’s hold on the power forward position isn’t a lock just yet.

    No games have been played, but Frye’s apparently decided he’s coming to Portland to chew gum and kick butt…. and he’s all outta gum.

  11. I wouldn’t put too much stock into offseason hyperbole. Last year Frye made it clear that he was going to base his play on that of Raef LaFrentz and now that they are on the same team, I expect to see Frye raining down threes and little else. With how skittish Frye looked around the basket last season, it’s very difficult to envision him transforming into some sort of banger.

  12. I don’t think anyone needs to worry about Jerome James playing this year.

    Randolph, Lee and Curry will probably suck up all the minutes at the 4/5 spots. Morris will play in spots, and pick up the slack if there’s an injury. James looks like the 5th stringer, from where I sit.

  13. As to Frye its a summer workout story – there are 100s of them a year. We don’t get too worked up on this, its not like Knicks fans have visions of sugar plums when we think that David Lee is taking 1,000 jumpers a day.

  14. Frye was looking pretty buff last summer too and was
    great during summer league. Not much stock in that.

    Having said that, Frye will do well in an offense that values his outside shooting and where he doesnt need to be a great defender or rebounder. Not sure what kind of system doesnt value defense or rebounding, but there you go.

  15. morris never had good rebounding numbers in college, so you wonder about his athleticism. other than that, i don’t see why he can’t be the 4th big man if he can catch the ball in traffic and put up decent shots.

  16. Morris averaged 7.8 rebounds in 27.6 minutes of playing time. That looks okay to me, not great, but not terrible. I’m not sure rebounding necessarily indicates athletic ability. The most Camby ever averaged was 8.2 and that was in 31 mpg.

  17. His rebound numbers are decent, but we’re talking about his senior season; when he was a junior the #s were 6.0 in 24.4 mins. I forget if Camby came out as a soph or a junior, but that’s probably a better comparison.

    You can tell by watching Morris two trips down the floor that he’s not that class of athlete. He’s not a plodder, but slightly above average rebounder as college senior doesn’t translate to great rebounder in pros.

  18. I’ll blame typing too fast for messing up my arithmetic. Of course Morris college rebound #s are as good as Camby’s. Still worth noting the age difference, and don’t know how the comparison would look if adjusted for pace of game.

  19. Randolph was not a senior last year, only a junior. I mean, come on, you looked up his stats (I’m guessing), couldn’t you tell that he only played three years? And who said anything about him being a great rebounder. Average, capable, not a liability is where I stand on his rebounding ability. By the way, Camby did come out out after his junior year.

  20. The knicks should keep morris. he is going to mature into a great player. what the knicks need to do is focus on players who dont hog the ball but still help. i think we hav a core of young players like that. lee balkman mardy and morris look like a nice future for the knicks. trade steph curry and jamal for things that help the future. we will be champions in 10 years.

  21. Randolph may be better in his role as a back-up than Curry is in his role as a starter.

    There are maybe half dozen quality centers out there …it’s the weakest position in the NBA…the Knicks don’t shine at center, but then most other teams don’t either.

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